Nurses have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to accept the NHS pay deal

The NHS pay deal has been accepted by the trade unions representing healthcare workers.

Since March, 14 unions have been asking NHS staff whether they want to accept or reject the proposed pay rise, which would mean a 6.5% increase over three years for over a million hospital cleaners, nurses, security guards, physiotherapists, emergency call handlers, paramedics, midwives, radiographers and other NHS staff across England.

With the results of these consultation exercises and online ballots now in, unions announced at a meeting today that health workers have voted overwhelmingly to accept the deal.

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The Results: 77% of Royal College of Nursing members (39,863 members* took part in the consultation) and an astounding 84% of Unison members (83,500 members, around 30% of members eligible to vote, took part in the consultation) backed the deal. The GMB is the only healthcare union to reject the pay deal.

What happens now? The deal will be formally approved at a meeting of NHS trade unions on 27 June. NHS staff should now get the money in their July pay packets, backdated from April. You take a look at the new agenda for change pay structure here.

The devolved healthcare system in Scotland and Wales can now start to establish a deal based on this information.

‘The issue of NHS pay has been put to bed’.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “After today, the Government cannot assume that the thorny issue of NHS pay has been put to bed. This deal marks a step in the right direction but the bigger leap to truly fair pay still needs to be taken. It does give a genuine pay rise to over one million people from next month and that cannot be underestimated in challenging economic times.

“Ministers knew that the public were behind our members when they turned up the heat last year. Today’s deal would not have been reached without the campaigning efforts of tens of thousands of nursing staff last year and we thank the public for the support shown.

“But I want to reassure those members who did not support this particular deal that their views are respected and their arguments have been heard by the College. They can be assured that this is by no means the end of our campaigning for fair pay and their contribution to that cause will remain invaluable.

“We will turn our campaigning fire on getting this pay rise extended to nursing staff in other parts of the NHS and social care too. The care sector already suffers from high staff turnover and so pay must be boosted there too if we are to prevent a nursing exodus for better paid jobs in hospitals and the community.”  

It won’t solve NHS problems overnight.

Sara Gorton, Lead Health Union Negotiator and UNISON head of health, said: “The agreement won’t solve all the NHS’ problems overnight, but it will go a long way towards easing the financial strain suffered by health staff and their families over many years.

“The lifting of the damaging one per cent cap on pay will come as a huge relief for all the employers who’ve struggled for so long to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff.

“But this three year pay deal must not be a one off. Health workers will want to know that ministers are committed to decent wage rises across the NHS for the long term, and that this isn’t just a quick fix.

“Most importantly the extra funding means the pay rise won’t be at the expense of services or patient care. Now the government has begun to put right the damage inflicted by its mean-spirited pay policies, staff will be hoping ministers announce an injection of cash for NHS services in time for its 70th birthday next month.”


*We contacted the RCN to clarify the percent of eligible nurses who took part in the consultation but they opted not to release this information.

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